Monday, October 4, 2010

The Fortress Files Part 1

The Fortress Files Part 1
Evading Evasion

Once again, you find yourself at the age old question of the apocalypse. Do you keep moving, or do you find shelter? You've been scavaging the wasteland for days now, and you've made quite the lucrative start. A couple small arms, some explosives and traps, and a beginner's assassin set. All of which you McGuyver'd out of common trash and household objects.  McGuyver, by the way, did the voice of the Brotherhood of Steel General in Fallout 2. Now that I've got you thinking about that, let me encroach upon the delicate subject of friends. You can't survive here alone for very long. And if you did, I'm pretty sure we both know you'd be questioning the point of that after too long. We're going to have to start thinking about making a stable base of operations. And the nomad life just isn't for us, too much hit or miss. We can make a nomad hub.

I'd suggest going to, making a free acount, and searching for the Arcanum soundtrack from this point forward. At least while reading the Wasteland Chronicles. Which these instructionals shall hence forth be known. Now that we've set the mood, lets talk about location. We're going to discuss, briefly, three main locations. Urban, Rural, and Remote. Each of these will require their own unique flair, but we'll run through the basics real quick.

Urban zones are great for easy salvage, high resource rate (especially early on), and higher recruit population. They do however make up for those plush areas by an over abundance of everything bad in your life. Be it zomification, ragification, or nukification, theres going to be some kind of opposition out there thats going to want the plush resource environs. Subways add a unique twist to this environment, as do tall buildings. Giving the terrain a much more 3d aspect in terms of tactical placements. Remnant Government cells might also be a cause for concern, depending on your area. But they might also be a boon for their military gear and vehicles. They're like gold in a wastelander's eyes. Agriculture possible on rooftops, central parks, etc...

Rural areas are less compact than the urban zones, but still offer a rich amount of salvage and resource harvest. The population will be more spread out, but centers of commerce might be feasible within the denser zones, or between several loose zones. The chance of a more wild attack is present here, though hostile population will at least be smaller in number. Depending on your level of commitment to your branching abilities, you might want to start small, and work big. The room for agricultural growth is considerably larger than the urban zones.

Remote areas can be the safest in some regards, if you're going for the smaller community. Though with proper management, it can be a much larger establishment. Through proper leadership, you could really craft a society in any area. The remote location will offer you the least salvage. Having almost no man-crafted zones, you'd be dealing with raw resources and natural environment. Which is fine too, but will back crafting the more high tech inventions more time and energy consuming. In fact, time/energy management will be crucial in the remote areas at first. So while being safe, getting a stable living situation will be more difficult.

Now, depending on the area you decide to settle in, you'll have to stress over the three main areas of concern differently. Upkeep, Defense, and Shelter. Upkeep is self explanatory, covering the realms of food, water, clothing, medication. Defense encompasses your ability to withstand direct attack, the walls, weapons, traps, height advantages, whatever. While the Shelter exhibits all the creature comfort we call home. That is, running water,  sun and wind shielding, bedding, toiletries, electricity, the whole works. Lets assume you didn't need to know about foraging and fishing judging from the polls, so we can assume you have Upkeep mostly in control. Let's instead worry about the place we call home.

High ground will offer you many advantages in line of sight and defensive measures, but tends to leave you trapped should all fail. One could feasible go within the ground for all around protection, but still leaves your feeling trapped. Not to say these aren't valid tactics, but be sure to keep an escape route or three in mind. Three well trapped routes. You could also go the European way and just build your own walls. You will then have to deal with open surroundings however, especially during the building process. Keep in mind, you now have to maintain your energy every day with foraging in some way until you get a home. Keep all of these things in mind. And remain confident, you're one step along the way to having your own town. Lets move into the rural zone, in some towns. Lets wander into a Cabella's, shall we? Replace with Wal-Mart, Cotco, or other super store.

What you need are metal grates and ironbar gate doors, solder them together. Make a gateway of some kind, this article is not about making gates. Behind this gate, were going to need a gauntlet. That is to say, a thin path along one wall they must cross through to slow them down, and then a second gate. Next to the thin path, you can have a guard station, or whatever. Its a universal floodgate, and its needed to secure a building. If your ballsy, bank doors are heavy to keep the poor out. The actual dimensions are up to the builder and entrance in question, so I'll keep this broad. We're choosing a floodgate method, ebcause the flood can be watched and controlled by the siderooms, or ceiling walkways. This also allows us to center the traffic in and out of our stronghold. Make no mistake, this is not a tutorial for the soloist today. Teamwork and cooperation can go a long way to making a stable, happy home.  We'll get into the main entrances later, let's first talk about closing up holes in your walls.

Ventilation shafts should be stuffed with razorwire if you can find it. It will stop intruders deadon, either from the death part, or from clogging the crawlable spaces. Make sure to bar those windows with cement and rebar, the parking lot will be a wealth of metal sign posts, parking lot bumper rebar, everything you need. Cement can be found in the janitor's room or boiler room generally. Otherwise, hope you're at a costco. Side entrances should be heavily bunkered under, until you have enough to watch more than one entrance. Be sure to check these weak spots periodically, unless your drowning it in cement. Sewer access is a concern, but also a boon. Its tough to get up through the holes if they're covered up, and make a hand escape. You could also wire a closed circuit surveillance or periscope system, to ensure its safe should you need a quick escape. It wouldn't be a bad idea to even make the immediate underground area apart of your fortress.

Some rookie mistakes when it comes to a stronghold include moisture control, food preservation, sterility, and electricity conservation. Anything that once cost money, now costs time. Keep that in mind as you balance new and more into your ecosystem. Keep your food in a dry place, cool if possible. Stick to canned foods and non-perishables. Mind bagged foods, especially potatoes. Anything that is perishable you should keep in a short term storage. While a long term larder could be kept for the bulk storables. A good reference site can be found here.

Refrigeration is very difficult, and honestly besides the old plastic bag in the waterfall trick, its kinda tough to jerry rig. Nothing I could post here short of schematics. So stick to what you got, and treasure every fridge you find!

The roof is a great access to sunlight if you want to do a topside garden. As wel as a fine place for watch towers, and water collectors. Solar panels would make a lovely ornament to complement your own piece of land. But the roof is also an access point. Razor wire those edges, and grease up and handholds within 3 or 4 feet of the top. I could scale a cabellas if I needed to, I'm guessing a really angry and hungry raider could too. If you can get your hands on some motion sensors, theyre battery operated often and can give you an early warning with a light switch. If you haven't seen Evil Dead yet, you should really start carrying a Chemistry and Electronics textbook in your car at all times. Knowledge is power.

Now, lets talk about traps. Just for the entrance, we'll save the rest for the Snares and Traps section. Its quite large. If you can get your hands on some super soakers, you can fill those up with gasoline or something flammable. You can spray them down as a warning, allowing matches to be dropped if needed, or attach a lighter to the front of the soaker and call it even. Just be sure to seal up the supersoaker with gas-proof epoxy, found in marine stores, motorcycle stores, or... Cabella's. Sporting Goods are just great.

Show it who the wasteland king really is.
For more barricade fun, you can make some cattle prods. Its even easy! Get a disposable camera, electric tape, and copper wire. All of which should be at cabellas, even if you gotta strip a speaker wire down. The boiler room/janitors closet should be a goldmine at a place that big, so much wire.  Take it all apart and remove the circuit board itself. Connect the battery back to the circuit board, and wrap everything except for the two capacitor contact points in something electric proof... Like the electric tape. Make sure you get the right polarities, my friends. Now, when you hold down the button, youll hear it whine a bit, getting louder. Thats the capacitor charging. Don't do that, you still have to attach wire leads from the capacitor contact points, leading up whatever stick or tool your making into your prod. At the end, secure and separate the tips. Making sure to wrap the wires down tight, so they never touch. That should drop their legs out pretty quick. For a cool grenade version of the same camera trick, check out sometime.
Next to the black knob, those two points are Contact Points.
The big white button in the middle is the Button.

In my recent weeks of blogging, while looking for images for my posts, I've been directed to them on multiple occasions. Thought I'd share the wealth of information with my comrades, and continue to dish it out daily from my own experiences.

For those of you that didn't want a community guide, here are some neat tricks to making a temporary shelter in a wooded area. There are alot fo you that don't live near big cities or Cabella's, and I wouldn't want you left out in the dirt... Not without these tricks at least.

Shelter before Fire. Fire is easy, especially with a lighter. Be prepared, make survival that much easier. So concentrate first on getting a place to cover your head. Digging a hole is the first option. This conserves heat during night time, and keeps you cool during the day. Make a low room and over it with foliage. This will prevent a silhouette effect, or profile effect on the horizon. It's best to blend with the environment, so please keep that in mind. Pits can also be used to collect water, either a very deep pit for a well. Or, you could always make a wider pit about 5 feet deep, and stretch a watertight tarp over it at four corners. Just a few inches about the surface of the pit. This will collect the ground moisture, and morning dew, as well as any rainwater that comes in. This will be more noticable, but it can also  be a great place to store perishables for a short period of time. Just keep it out of direct sunlight.

Build near a stream. This will provide you with fish and other river creatures, small mammals and deer will drink nearby, water source, and a valid place to get electricity. Falling water is like nature's slave labor, use what you've got, its free and plentiful. If you can score hickory bark, you can boil it down for it's salt. OR just get salt, and attract deer. Another great natural resource for bone weapons, fish hooks, meat, sinew ties and rope. Mashed brain can be used with salt to cure and tan hides... Oh my friends, we have much to go into if rural is your choice. Should this be your thing, vote for the Foraging and Trapping section. I went into a bit of a tangent, so let me digress. Stay sharp, stay in shape. Theres no point in having a stronghold if you have nobody to hold with, so keep that black band on your arm brothers, I'll see you on the horizon in our next installation of Wasteland Chronicles!



  1. Interesting tips & viewpoints. :)

  2. Wow.. I have a lot to think about with 2012 just around the corner!

  3. Fortunatley (or not, a matter of perspective I guess) I live near a Cabella's as far as being able to maintain a good stock of weapons/ammo. It should always be assumed that they will run out and improvised weapons will need to be made.

    I'm in a suck area though, with no resources unless I get all bandito with a few neighbors.

    Traps though, that is where I need the info. Thanks.

  4. Very impressive work Kane, a good long read, and every word well smithed to create a guide with many useful tips.

    I like the advice about carrying crucial information everywhere you go in case of an emergency. If life is a chess game, planning ahead is the strategy needed to win, but of course in a harsh physical terrain, there needs to be another mix asides from mental strength.

    Also like the metaphor of falling water as Earth's natural slave labour. Sounds like you are also a poet, you should share some in the future.

  5. As always, a pleasure to read. I added you to my MSN buddies list, by the way. If you're ever online late in the evening, I'd love to chat. Just know that if you're a Fed in disguise, you're totally wasting your time XD

  6. The science-textbook-in-the-trunk trick is probably one of the most helpful, and could be expanded to include some sort of survival guide. Don't forget to freezer-bag them, though, because a wet textbook is a sad textbook.

    I'm interested to read what you've got for solo goers, though, besides trapping. Do you have any suggestions for the types of structures in a suburban or urban setting that a soloist should be looking for?

  7. Absolutely Cass, I'll even make a whole new post just for you mate. It was getting very long, so I had to leave some out. But tomorrow morning, I'll write a narrative for the urban soloist. For they require a separate guide. The remote survivalist will have to wait for the traps and foraging guide for nifty shelter tips ;) Thanks for the feedback guys, I hope you guys enjoy these story driven how-to's. Even if I do feel somewhat insane when I write them out ;)

    Keeping my Sanity, in practice alone

  8. Janus! I'm loving these posts man! I'm a hiker and into this survival stuff so i'm soaking this up like a sponge! When i'm hiking I use a very light hammock made from parachute material and a tarp for rain cover, its a great mobile shelter, but I never actually thought about a permanent residence. I read the entire article and you really went in depth and I appreciate it, I like reading something and not having unanswered questions at the end, I feel like I could actually get my own little strong hold going now if I had too! Great post man, keep them coming!


  9. Yet another well-written article. Very impressive how you keep churning these out on a day-to-day basis. I'd like one of those flame-throwing super soakers!

  10. Thanks guys, its kinda tough i'll admit, but I've another month at least planned ;) I don't plan on leaving my audience wanting more. Thanks for the great feedback too, read the comments guys! Some quality information from my learned colleagues.


  11. wow! great article! really worth reading!

    right now, i'm living in a rural area. and almost everything in your post can he applied here. although i like to think myself as the "whatever floats your boat" kind of guy, the info i got here will definitely help.

    movie maker should read this! it will definitely improve those post-apocalyptic themed movies!

    looking forward to more post from you.

  12. Hm might be smart to get as far away from other people as possible when the world turns into shit. Seen too many apocalypse films I guess with crazy people in it

  13. interesting !!

    supporting you
    take care.

  14. Janus, these posts suck me in. I don't even realize I'm nearing the end until I see the comments section, which kind of saddens me. I can't wait to make a taser grenade. I'll play with it until your next post.....

  15. good follow up post to yesterday's

  16. This reminds me of the zombie apoc handbook/guide. Funny post but enlightening.

  17. This is like the zombie survival guide except for humans. I've always loved survival guides so this is no exception.

    Also, I think it was clicksor that was doing that. I'll make sure to disable it as soon as I get AdBrite back.


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